New Delhi: CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Monday denied any special treatment by Air India officials when he boarded AI 701, which left Kolkata airport after a delay of 14 hours.
Asserting that no hospitality was provided by Air India, the leader said that the airline has not understood how to work with the new Dreamliner fleet of planes.
Speaking to reporters about what actually transpired on Monday morning on the delayed Air India flight, Yechury said, "I had to go back to party office and had dinner there. I had to wait at the airport till my party car came to pick me. There were 4 seats in another international flight which I volunteered to be given to Pakistan travelers as they had to catch a connecting international flight. I was booked in a flight on Monday morning, this is the real story. "
The leader also recalled other instances of the airlines' apathy. "I was witness to two other instances where I had to get down from the flight. I got down and along with me there was Pakistan High Commissioner and there were other guests from Pakistan who had come to see the match at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Earlier, national aviation carrier Air India responded on the 14-hour delay of Kolkata-New Delhi AI 701 by blaming the delay on a technical glitch in the first aircraft.
Air India issued a statement on Monday claiming that it provided hotel accommodation to stranded passengers, adding that they were accommodated in another flight on Monday morning.
However, passengers on board AI 701 confirmed to IBNLive that no hotel accommodation was provided by the airline. In fact, the passengers were not even deplaned till 10 pm on Sunday, even as the scheduled departure of the flight was 5:30 pm.
All the passengers were deplaned at 10 pm and were transported to the terminal where there was no Air India official to attend them. Agitated passengers protested for two hours against the apathy of the airlines.
Air India 701 finally landed in Delhi at 8:55 am on Monday morning, close to 14 hours after its scheduled arrival.
However, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, who was also aboard the flight, was shifted onto a different plane and flew to Delhi along with 50 other passengers on Sunday evening itself.